Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tortellini Soup & Southwest Turkey Panini Sandwiches

While I love soup, I've only ever made homemade chicken nooodle. This soup was so easy to whip together. I was actually shocked at how easy it was. It seems like it should have an excessive ingredient list and take a lot of time. It couldn't be farther from the truth.

It worked out perfectly to make soup this week. We had a rainy, windy, sleety (here in Minnesota, that is a perfectly acceptable word to describe the weather. Trust me.) day and this was exactly what we needed.

Tortellini Soup
*I doubled this recipe so that we could have leftovers for a couple days. The original recipe says it yields 3-4 servings.* The original recipe is listed below.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (can also use vegetable broth)
9 ounces tortellini, any variety (I used Bertolli tortellini from the refrigerated section)
3 cups fresh baby spinach, loosely packed (I used bagged spinach)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Grated Paremesan, optional for serving

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until beginngin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, just until fragant, approximately 1 minute. Mix in the oregano (I threw in some basil too) and diced tomatoes. Add the chicken brtoh to the pot. Bring everything to a boil. Add your tortellini to the pot and cook according to package directions. (My tortellini really puffed up. I've never made tortellini of any kind before so I'm not sure if this was normal. Perhaps that's because it was 'fresh' and not frozen tortellini? I'd be interested to hear if this happens to anyone else.)

One minute before the tortellini is fully cooked, stir in the spinach. Remove from the heat & season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with grated Parmesan, if you choose.

I knew that just having soup wouldn't be satisfying for Matt so I paired it with homemade ciabatta panini.

At work, we have a cafe called The Muffin Man and it's so good. A funky little cafe that's a much needed break from the lunch options at our Cafeteria. Have you ever had broccoli that was so badly cooked that you could mush it with your tongue against the roof of your mouth? If not, you're lucky. If so, you can probably imagine my dissappointment when I added a side of broccoli to my lunch one day at the cafeteria. Blech. Anyway, back to our lunch paradise; The Muffin Man has a southwest turkey grilled sandwich. Southwest mayo, roasted red peppers, turkey and cheddar cheese on ciabatta bread, grilled to perfection.

That was my inspiration for these sandwiches. Our grocery store was out of red peppers (yes, really) so I had to skip the peppers. I had spinach leftover from the soup so I added some spinach to our sandwiches. I didn't have any cheddar cheese so I used some shredded cheese that I had in the refrigerator. These sandwiches are completely customizable to whatever you may be feeling.

Southwest Turkey Grilled Sandwich
Inspired by: The Muffin Man Cafe

Loaf of cooked ciabatta
Turkey deli meat
Fresh spinach leaves
Prepared chipotle mayo, recipe below.

I bought a loaf of 'Take and Bake' ciabatta at our local grocery store. I sliced it in about 4" sections and then cut them almost in half lengthwise. Similar to how they would cut your bread at a sub shop. I then put it in the oven and baked it per the directions. When done, spread mayo on both halves, add your deli meat, cheese, spinach and then place on a warm griddle for a few minutes on each side. Just until cheese melts.

I'd really like to invest in a panini maker or a sandwich griddle. These were fantastic sandwiches. My Husband, Matt, loved them so much. He declared them "the best sandwiches ever." Our meal of tortellini soup and southwest turkey panini sandwiches won him over so well, he said that it puts his previous favorite meal to shame.

Chipotle mayo
Amy's Kitchen Creation original
(Although I'm sure I'm not the only one to ever make this)

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
A few tablespoons of mayo

Cut up the peppers so they're smaller and then stir them into your mayo. If you'd like it spicier or less spicy, just adjust the amount of peppers you put into the mayo or add a little additional mayo.

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